#PressforProgress: Washburn and International Women’s Day


With the recent scandals in Hollywood, the accusations against high ranking politicians and the #MeToo movement still going strong, this year’s International Women’s Day is bound to cover a lot.

Every year on March 8, global women’s organizations, movements, charities and businesses band together in marches, performances and rallies for the fight toward gender equity. According to the UN, the first National Women’s Day was observed in the U.S on February 28, 1909. Other nations steadily added their own Women’s Day, often as a mechanism for protesting World War 1. In 1975, the UN officially celebrated Women’s Day on March 8, making it an International event. 

This year, the theme is #PressforProgress, and the offical International Women’s Day website argues, “We can’t be complacent. Now, more than ever, there’s a strong call-to-action to press forward and progress gender parity. A strong call to #PressforProgress. A strong call to motivate and unite friends, colleagues and whole communities to think, act and be gender inclusive.”

The 2017 theme, #BeBoldForChange, was used by the US women’s hockey team to press for fair wages. The women said they would boycott the International Ice Hockey Federation World Champtionship unless they could make progress in negotiations with USA Hockey. The women shared messages on social media, asking to be paid the same, and receive the same treatment as the men’s team. 

A press is necessary when in 2017, the World Economic Forum found that at the current rate of progress, the global gender gap will take 100 years to close, with an estimated 68 percent of the gap closed currently. This number includes gaps across health, education, politics and the workplace, and 2017 was the first time, since 2006 that the gap grew wider.

Rebecca Lewis, a freshman mass media major said the number is “unfair because we, [women and activists] have been campaigning for so long, it’s not even fair. Women should always have equality to men.”

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In 2016, the gap was estimated to take 83 years to close, but the pillars of economic opportunity and political empowerment saw a widening in the past year. These widening areas bring particular concern because they have always been the largest, and until this year, the World Economic Forum registered them as the fastest to progresss.

Undeclared sophomore, Madison Dressman said she believes that the widening gap can partly be attributed to “the fact that we have a lot of leadership right now, that has a lot of sexist tendencies. He [President Donald Trump] in turn is putting other people in power with the same ideals.”

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Dressman said that one of the implications for the widening gap could be that “wages for women would go down [and] our nation is starting one of the first trade wars in forever between Trump and China, so prices go up because our leadership has taken that direction.”

Washburn University is helping to continue the conversation on International Women’s Day by hosting a Coffee Talk in the Union Underground from 11:00 a.m to 1:30 p.m Thursday, March 8.

Freshman biology major, Evelyn Martinez said she hopes that they discuss equal pay at the Coffee Talk. Martinez spoke about how when students graduate, they want to get jobs, but the pay gap is of concern for many young female students.

“If they do the same work they should be paid the same,” said Martinez.

Lewis says that college women should campaign in order to gaurntee a better future for women everywhere. March 8, 2018, Washburn University will join millions of women around the globe, and #PressforProgress.